Living Streets
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Turin, Italy

In Turin (985,000 inhabitants), thanks to a living lab gathering associations citizens and municipal departments, Living Streets have provided the opportunity to rethink the use of public space towards pedestrianisation in the residential district of Campidoglio.

A living lab in the Campidoglio district

Campidoglio (5,000 inhabitants) is mainly a residential district and it is also home to many local artists and craftsmen, but is not a touristic neighbourhood. Campidoglio is characterised by narrow streets, full of cars. Currently there is only one pedestrian street, but this is not really respected as people still continue to park and drive there. In this district residents are willing to take back the streets and organise something else in the public space. The municipality supported this process by proposing Laboratorio Campidoglio to facilitate meetings with the citizens, allowing contact among themselves, but letting them be the main contributors to the Living Streets activities.

To prepare the events, the municipality contacted all associations in the neighbourhood as well as the craftsmen. In June 2017 a world café workshop was organised involving about 30 participants to develop ideas for activities: What can we organise to make the area more liveable? All the ideas were discussed in terms of their feasibility and based on this a follow-up workshop was organised in July to define the agenda of the Living Streets event. Participants highlighted the need to make the borough more visible to its inhabitants but also from the outside so that is becomes more inclusive.

"Citizens showed great interest and participation in the life of the borough: they are more aware of the nature and future of the area, which is not merely the pedestrianization, but also taking back the public spaces and making the neighbourhood more valued and lively. With the Living Streets, the citizens have realized the potential of the district where they live!
We need to encourage people to go to this borough. But how? For instance, by opening shops on the street that arouse the curiosity of visitors."
(Carlo Zanella, craftsman)

In September and October 2017, two two-day Living Street events were co-organised with the active participation of the citizens, shops, schools and other associations within the neighbourhood. These events attracted numerous people outside of the area who came there for the first time.

A wide range of activities took place:

  • Painting workshop: One of the local artists in the neighbourhood proposed a painting workshop with children on the topic “what neighbourhood would you like in the future?”.
  • Consultation of citizens who were asked to imagine the neighbourhood with different modes of mobility, what kind of possibilities they see to change this area into a pedestrian zone and also what street furniture they would need to make this area more comfortable. Citizens suggested to have benches, plants, public furniture. Urban furniture was installed with the help of a group of citizens already involved in urban agriculture.
  • Role play with the primary school: Role play involves imitating the character and behaviour of someone who is different from yourself. Children were playing roles such as a disabled person, a mum with a pushchair and little children, so that they could see with the eyes of the role they were playing which were the problems of the area. After the tour of the neighbourhood they could come back with difficulties they faced and they were aware of, allowing them to reimagine the Campidoglio district without all these issues. Some children were playing the policemen, putting papers with messages on cars that were not appropriately parked. These were not real fines, so were positively perceived. The message was simply saying: “And me, where can I go?”.
  • Art exhibition: Local artists from the neighbourhood organised an art exhibition, including paintings with sights from the Campidoglio district. This allowed some artists to be promoted and be more well-known while making people discover specific spots in the neighbourhood illustrated in the paintings.
  • Debate on future activities: A debate was organised to think about what should be done after the Living Streets event. Citizens appreciated that Living Streets made connections between them and now they are growing as a group and want to be more autonomous. This ensures that at the end of the project citizens still want to act and continue this process.

The impact: a collaborative project that brings more social interaction to the district

The Living Streets events confirm that the citizens wish to revitalise the public area in Campidoglio. Traffic and parking were the most debated themes during this experiment.
Thereafter it was officially decided that by the end of 2018, part of the Campidoglio area will be pedestrianised and this is causing a big turmoil in the district. The majority of the inhabitants are satisfied with it, but some are worried about the toll parking or the distance of the car parks from their home. Residents will need time to integrate the transformation in their daily lives, but the first impression is that there is a general acceptance of this decision.

"An important part of Campidoglio will be pedestrianised: this result certainly represents a positive outcome because it closes a long path of confrontation and positional conflict and inaugurates a phase of concrete definition of solutions for the future of the district.
Now a stable group of citizens is acting as intermediary with the District and meets regularly in order to discuss the improvement of the area.
Without a doubt, this happens thanks to the "constructive" climate created by Living Streets."
(Claudio Cerrato, President of the District, City of Torino)

The social cohesion in the neighbourhood has considerably increased and a discreet number of citizens now meet regularly to discuss issues regarding the daily life of the borough. Schools, commercial activities and citizens are aware of the importance to exchange ideas and listen to each other in order to make proposals and implement them together.
New activities have been created following the Living Streets events: the creation of a monthly street market of arts and crafts made in Campidoglio, as well as urban gardening activities with citizens and schools.

Further information
http://torinolivinglab.it/laboratorio-campidoglio/

Contact
Michele Fatibene, Policy Officer - Responsible for Innovation, City of Turin
Rossana Guglielmetti, European Policies manager, City of Turin

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